A new maternity programme has helped over 50 women stop smoking during pregnancy at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Peterborough City Hospital since it was launched last year.

Starting at the end of 2022, the programme was initially rolled out at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust and extended to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in March 2023.

Both have specially trained practitioners who support mums-to-be to quit smoking whilst they are pregnant. So far 30, babies have been born to smoke-free mums.

Local mum-of-three Priscilla, 36, stopped smoking during her third pregnancy thanks to the support she received at Peterborough City Hospital.

Her daughter was born in June 2023, Priscilla said, “I wanted to stop smoking for a number of reasons, as I wanted my daughter to have the best start in life.

“The weekly visits really help a lot and getting my carbon monoxide reading done and I felt really proud of myself to see the progress I had made.

“I didn’t think the programme would work, but it worked 100%, and would recommend it to anyone who does smoke and wants to stop.”

The programme offers appointments at a choice of locations with the face-to-face visits taking place at home, clinics or even a local coffee shop.

The team are also able to support via video appointments. Information around smoke free homes and the benefits of quitting are shared in a non-judgemental way.

Support and encouragement are given for the whole pregnancy with weekly visits until 28 days smokefree and then contact every month until 12 weeks following the birth of their baby.

A fundamental part of the programme includes the free provision of pregnancy-safe nicotine replacement therapy and ongoing support to prevent relapse.

Debbie Garner, treating tobacco dependency specialist midwife at NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, part of the ICS, said: “Stopping smoking during pregnancy is one of the best things a mum can do to give their child a healthy start in life.

“But we know this is incredibly hard to do, which is why we created this service to provide support in creating smoke free families and homes.

“I am so proud of everyone who has both joined the programme and also committed to stop smoking.”

“Anyone who is pregnant and currently smoking, please do speak to your midwife about it. All our stop smoking advisors are specially trained and can offer judgement-free support to help you stop smoking.”

Anyone who is currently smoking whilst pregnant should speak to their midwife about it who can help them to access this local service.

For more information on the benefits of stopping smoking in pregnancy please visit https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/stop-smoking/